5. Mountaineering, dancing puppeteer
In previous performances, dancer, playwright and puppeteer Mark Stuver has dressed as a tyrannosaurus rex, danced while rock climbing and howled at the moon. He will perform in Machine Project's 19th century–inspired, special effects–equipped Mystery Theater this weekend, though what and how is to be announced. 1200-D N. Alvarado St., Echo Park; Fri., Nov. 8, and Sat., Nov. 9, 11:59 p.m. (213) 483-8761, machineproject.com.
4. Build it yourself
If you walk into the Institute for Figuring's Chinatown space, you will see tetrahedra built of colored sticks everywhere, making all sorts of curving and angular structures. Then, in the back room, you'll see a large bamboo structure the size of a modest shed, made out of similar triangular shapes. This is a half-size model of a house that Jake Dotson, the current artist in resident at the Institute, is building for an acquaintance he met at Occupy L.A., with the idea that these shapes could be an efficient, accessible and affordable building unit. If you visit IFF this weekend for the Space Frame Building Lab, you can practice building with the tetrahedra on a larger scale. 990 N. Hill St., Chinatown; Sat., Nov. 9, 2-6 p.m. (323) 222-2111, theiff.org.
3. The original VJ
In 1965, composer John Cage — infamous for his piece 4'33″, in which the musician remains silent for four minutes and 33 seconds — developed a multimedia event that would include dancers, composers and video artists. As choreographer Merce Cunningham and dancers from his company dashed across the stage, they would trigger photocells attached to a tape recorder, so that movement would be directly dictating sound. Early video artist Nam June Paik would project TV imagery on screens around the dancers. While no documents from that specific performance are in Thomas Solomon Gallery's current Paik show, the stills of Cunningham superimposed over other figures, the funny robot with a lightbulb head and the free-associating TV set recall that energy. 27 Bernard St., Chinatown; through Dec. 21. (323) 275-1687, thomassolomongallery.com.
2. Art for shorter days
The first part of Emilie Halpern's three-part exhibition at Pepin Moore in Hollywood, which opened on the autumnal equinox and continues until winter solstice, was best to see at night, when the rocks she'd laid out on the gallery floor glowed purple, gold and green in the dark. This current, second part is best seen in sunlight. The day the show opened, she applied gold leaf to the walls, floors and windowsills, wherever direct sunlight hit. Since the sun never hits in exactly the same place again, when you visit, you see the outlines of the windows in gold and in bright white sunlight, the gold and sun never quite aligning. 5849 W. Sunset Blvd.; through Nov. 23. (213) 626-0501, pepinmoore.com.
1. Interloper at the movies
Painter-photographer Robert Cumming began photographing movie premieres and award shows early in the 1970s. He was a recent L.A. transplant who had just spent time photographing palm trees and motor homes, among other cliches. He went to the Music Center for the Oscars a few times, and took charmingly loose shots of Cher, Mae West and Barbra Streisand at the premiere for Last Tango in Paris. Because he took these images with color slide film, they've rarely been seen. But he's used digital printing to put together a show of midsized images at Jancar Gallery. There's a feeling of raw curiosity about these shots that makes them worth seeing. 961 Chung King Road, Chinatown; through Nov. 23. (213) 259-3770, jancargallery.com.
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